At least 18 days before the review hearing the board shall publish the notice and shall mail a copy of the notice as specified in sub. (3) (b)
. Failure of these notices to reach an owner or mortgagee does not invalidate the assessment of benefits and damages.
The board shall hold the review hearing for at least 2 days, at which it shall hear testimony and consider evidence on the amount of benefits and damages assessed.
Following the review hearing the board shall review the testimony and evidence received and determine its final assessment of benefits and damages. The board shall list its final assessment of benefits and damages separately and shall also list the difference between the benefits and damages to each parcel of property, so that the owner pays or receives only the difference. The board shall report its final assessment in writing to the common council.
The common council shall record the date the final assessment report is submitted under sub. (5) (d)
in its journal with a brief statement describing for what purpose and in what general locality the assessment has been made. The common council may not act upon the report until the day after the report's submission.
The common council may confirm the assessment or remand the assessment to the board for revision and correction. If the common council remands the assessment to the board, the board shall review, correct and revise the assessment by holding a public hearing and providing notice of the hearing under sub. (3)
, reappraising damages and benefits under sub. (4)
and allowing review of the revised assessment under sub. (5)
. The common council shall hear the revised assessment under this subsection. If the common council fails to confirm the assessment or remand the assessment to the board for revision and correction, it shall adopt a resolution terminating the project. Termination does not prevent the city from including the same property in a subsequent public improvement that involves the same or another municipal purpose.
After confirming the assessment under sub. (6) (b)
the common council shall deliver a certified copy of the assessment to both the city treasurer and the city comptroller.
The city attorney shall record with the register of deeds the resolution confirming the assessment of benefits and damages together with a description of the property to be condemned and the map showing the location of the condemned property. The assessment of benefits and damages need not be recorded with the register of deeds.
Benefit assessment payments. 32.58(1)(1)
Mailing bills to owners.
After the common council confirms the final assessment of benefits and damages the city treasurer shall mail a bill for the full amount of the benefit assessment to the last-known mailing address of any owner of each parcel of property within the benefit district, as listed on the tax roll. The bill may be paid without interest if payment is remitted to the city treasurer within 45 days of the date of billing. Failure of this mailing to reach an owner does not affect the assessment or create any liability.
If any property owner fails to pay the benefit assessment in full within 45 days of the date of billing, the city treasurer shall place the assessment plus any interest accruing on the tax roll, subject to the following conditions:
If the unpaid principal equals or exceeds $125, the bill shall be spread equally over the first available tax roll and the next 5 tax rolls. The common council may direct that unpaid assessments to finance a municipal parking system under s. 66.0829
, plus interest accruing, be spread over the first available tax roll and up to the next 19 tax rolls.
If the unpaid principal is less than $125, the bill shall be added to the first available tax roll.
The common council shall establish the interest rate on unpaid principal.
Any property owner may pay the outstanding principal and interest on a benefit assessment in full at any time. Unless the city issues or will issue bonds under s. 32.67
or 32.69 (2)
, interest on the benefit assessment is computed to the date of payment. If the city issues or will issue bonds, interest is computed to a date 6 months following the date of payment and interest on an installment of the assessment that falls due within this 6-month period is computed to the date the installment falls due.
After payment in full the city comptroller may purchase any bond issued against the assessment, without action of the common council, to prevent further payment of interest on the bond. The city may cancel the bond after purchase. The city comptroller shall report to the common council each July concerning all bonds purchased and canceled.
(3) Failure to pay.
If any property owner is delinquent in paying a benefit assessment:
The county treasurer, under s. 74.57
or the city treasurer, if authorized to act under s. 74.87
, may include the owner's property in a tax certificate to collect the delinquent assessment, unless a special improvement bond under s. 32.67
is issued against the property. If the city has issued a special improvement bond against the owner's property, it may foreclose the property to collect the delinquent assessment. Even if only part of the property is within the benefit district and assessed benefits, the entire property may be sold or foreclosed to collect the delinquent assessment.
The city may attach a lien on the owner's property as of the date the assessment is placed on the tax roll under sub. (2) (a)
. The lien has the same priority as liens under s. 70.01
(4) Separate account.
The city treasurer shall keep a separate account for the collection of benefit assessments that finance special improvement bonds issued under s. 32.67
. The amounts collected shall be used to pay the principal and interest on the bonds.
Appeal to circuit court. 32.61(1)(1)
Limitation on remedies.
An appeal to the circuit court is the only remedy for damages incurred under this subchapter and is the exclusive method of reviewing any assessment of benefits.
(2) Statute of limitations; bond.
Any person with any interest in property assessed benefits or damages may, within 20 days after the common council confirms the assessment, appeal to the circuit court of the county in which the assessment is made by filing with the clerk of the circuit court a notice of appeal. The notice shall state the person's residence and interest in the property, the interest of any other person in the property, any lien attached to the property and the grounds of the appeal, together with a $100 bond to the city for the payment of court costs. At least 2 sureties shall sign the bond and state on the bond that each has a net worth in property within this state not exempt from execution at least equal to $100. If the city attorney objects to the bond or sureties the judge shall determine the suitability of the bond or sureties. Any surety company authorized to do business in this state may sign the bond as surety. Within this 20-day period the appellant shall also deliver a copy of the notice of appeal and bond to the city attorney. The city clerk shall send to the clerk of the circuit court a certified copy of the assessment of benefits and damages. If more than one person appeals, the city clerk shall send only one certified copy of the assessment for all appeals. Any person may pay any benefits assessed against his or her property without prejudice to the right of appeal under this section.
(3) Procedure on appeal; parties; costs.
The appeal shall be conducted before a jury. The court may permit any person interested in the benefits or damages to the same piece of property to become a party to the appeal if the person submits a petition setting forth the nature and extent of the interest. If the judgment is less than the damages assessed by the city, the judgment less the taxable costs of the city is full compensation for the damages. If the judgment is greater than the damages assessed by the city, the judgment is full compensation for the damages, plus interest only on the amount by which the judgment increases the award. If the city pays the award of damages under s. 32.62 (2) (c)
, the city may withdraw the award prior to the determination of an appeal only if it files a bond approved by the court to repay the amount withdrawn with costs and with interest from the date of the withdrawal. If the judgment decreases the benefits assessed by the city or increases the damages assessed, the appellant shall recover taxable costs on the appeal. Under any other judgment, the city recovers taxable costs. The city may pay any increased cost from its general fund by levying a tax or by issuing a general obligation bond under s. 67.04
. The appeal has preference over all other civil cases not on trial and may be brought on for trial by either party.
(4) Assessment changes on appeal. 32.61(4)(a)
The city shall correct its tax roll to reflect any changes in benefits assessed by the judgment under sub. (3)
If the appellant pays any installment or all of any benefits assessed prior to a judgment reducing the benefits assessed, the city shall refund the excess payment plus interest. If the county issues a tax certificate on any property for any delinquent benefit assessment that is subsequently reduced by a judgment, the county shall refund the amount reduced plus interest upon presentation of a receipt showing the redemption of the property under s. 75.01
If the appellant pays any installment or all of any benefits assessed or if the county issues a tax certificate on any property for any delinquent benefit assessment prior to a judgment increasing the benefits assessed, the city shall enter the increase in benefits, plus interest on the increase in benefits from the date of the judgment entered on appeal, on the tax roll against the property. The city shall enter the revised assessment on the tax roll in one sum if the original benefit assessment was payable or paid in one sum, or shall add equal portions of the revised assessment to any subsequent benefit assessment installments assessed against the property and enter the additions on the following tax rolls.
If the city issues particular special improvement bonds under s. 32.67 (2)
prior to a judgment reducing the benefits assessed against the property, any foreclosure of the bonds shall be for the reduced amount only of the benefits assessed. The city shall reimburse the bondholder for the difference due on the bonds.
Transfer of title. 32.62(1)(1)
Fee simple title to city.
If the city acquires any property by gift, purchase or condemnation under this subchapter, the city holds fee simple title to the property except that the city may acquire only an easement for streets, alleys, bridges, viaducts or water or sewer mains or branches and may acquire temporary construction easements.
The city acquires title to any property if any of the following occur:
The city reserves sufficient funds to pay the property owner the damages assessed under s. 32.57
and the board provides the property owner with 10 days' notice of the availability of the funds prior to acquisition by publication in any newspaper of general circulation in the city.
The city deposits the damages assessed under s. 32.57
with the clerk of the circuit court for the county in which the property is located for payment by order of the court under par. (c)
Any person entitled to payment for an assessment of damages exceeding $200 shall furnish to the city an abstract of title extended down to date to prove ownership, before the city may pay the assessment of damages. If the assessment of damages does not exceed $200, the claimant may furnish a certificate of title to prove ownership instead of an abstract of title.
The city may deposit the assessed damages with the clerk of the circuit court for the county in which the property is located. Deposit with the circuit court clerk relieves the city of any responsibility for the payment of damages and vests title to the property with the city. The circuit court has jurisdiction over the application of any party interested in the assessed damages, after notifying all interested parties and receiving proof of the applicant's interest, to distribute the payment of damages.
The city may deposit the assessed damages with the clerk of the circuit court for the county in which the property is located if either of the following persons fails to accept a payment of damages:
A trustee vested with title to property condemned under this subchapter but who is not authorized to convey the property.
A guardian of a person with an interest in property condemned under this subchapter.
The city shall notify the trustee or guardian of the deposit under subd. 1.
Deposit with the circuit court clerk relieves the city of any responsibility for the payment of damages and vests title to the property with the city. The circuit court has jurisdiction over the application of any trustee or guardian to determine the rights of the parties and distribute the payment of damages.
Payment of damages assessed under s. 32.57
voids all encumbrances to title, including any contract, lease or covenant attached to the property. Payment of assessed damages satisfies the interests in the property of all parties to the encumbrances.
(3) Payment of taxes.
The city may collect any unpaid property taxes, including property taxes assessed for the current year prior to transfer of title to the city, by reducing the assessed damages payable to the property owner proportionately. The court with jurisdiction under sub. (2) (c)
may reduce the assessed damages proportionately prior to ordering the distribution of the assessed damages.
(4) Writ of assistance.
If the city is unable to obtain possession of the property under sub. (2)
, a circuit court may grant a writ of assistance with 24 hours' notice to assist the transfer of title. If the city receives a writ of assistance pending an appeal, the appellant may receive the money paid into court upon the order of the court without prejudice to the appeal.
History: 1983 a. 236
Completing certain improvements. 32.63(1)(1)
This section applies to any plan of improvement that includes the acquisition of property either for the purpose of laying out or improving an alley or street, as defined in s. 340.01 (2)
, or for the purpose of establishing any park or memorial ground and that includes any of the following improvements:
Creating or improving gutters, curbs or sidewalks of the alley or street.
After approving the plan of improvement under s. 32.55
, the city may complete the improvement without submitting further estimates of the cost of the improvement to the common council. The common council may not revise its assessment of benefits or damages for the improvement.
History: 1983 a. 236
The common council may, by resolution, authorize the issuance of general special improvement bonds or particular special improvement bonds to finance an improvement. The common council may register the bonds as to principal under s. 67.09
and may call the bonds on terms it prescribes.
History: 1983 a. 236
Special improvement bonds. 32.67(1)(1)
General special improvement bonds.
General special improvement bonds are payable as to principal and interest on April 1, as provided in sub. (3)
from the collection of assessments of benefits for any improvement. The city comptroller shall issue the bonds. The common council shall determine the amount and denominations in which the bonds are issued and set the interest rate. The common council may issue the bonds in series. The bonds shall have interest coupons attached, bear the seal of the city and be signed by the mayor, one member of the board of assessment and the city comptroller. The mayor's signature may be engraved.
(2) Particular special improvement bonds. 32.67(2)(a)(a)
The common council may authorize the issuance of particular special improvement bonds directly against any affected property. The city shall set the interest rate for these bonds.
The city comptroller shall issue the bonds for the amounts assessed against the property. The bonds shall be made payable as provided by the authorizing resolution of the common council in equal annual installments plus interest on the unpaid part of the bond accruing to the date of payment on April 1, as provided in sub. (3)
. The bonds shall be designated “Particular Special Improvement Bonds" (naming the improvement), be made payable to bearer, state the amount of the assessment of benefits due and the amount of each installment plus interest payable and the times of payment, describe the property upon which the bond is assessed, bear the seal of the city, be issued in the city's name and be signed by the mayor, one member of the board of assessment and the city comptroller. The signature of the mayor may be engraved. Coupons shall be attached to each bond in amounts equal to the installment payments due plus interest remaining on unpaid portions of the bond.
The lien of the bond attaches on the date the assessment is placed on the tax roll under par. (e)
If the city fails to pay any installment of the bond plus interest because the assessment against the property is delinquent, the bondholder may require the entire amount of the bond plus interest to be paid within 3 years after the default. The bondholder may foreclose against the property in the manner provided under s. 75.19
. The bondholder may also recover reasonable attorney fees and costs. The time for redemption of the property may be shortened by order of the court. A copy of the bond foreclosed may be filed as a part of the judgment roll in the action in place of the original.
If bonds are issued, the city comptroller shall place benefit assessments against property financing the bonds on the tax roll for the year of issuance or, if the city comptroller is unable to place the assessments on this tax roll, on the next year's tax roll. Placement of benefit assessments on the tax roll is only for the purpose of collection by the city treasurer at the same time as other taxes are collected. If the owner defaults on payment of the assessment no tax certificate may be issued for the property under s. 74.57
. The sole remedy for the enforcement of the payment of the bonds is the foreclosure action against the property under par. (d)
(3) Time of bond payments.
Bonds or coupons are payable at the office of the city treasurer on April 1 following the expiration of the tax collection period of each year in which the assessments may be placed on the tax roll for collection, to the extent the assessments financing the bonds or coupons are received.
No bond issued under this section is a debt of the city, except to the extent the city treasurer collects assessments for payment of the bonds.
The common council may guarantee to pay any deficiencies in the collection of any assessment in an amount up to the principal and interest of any bond or coupon. If the city pays a deficiency it may become the owner of the bond or coupon, subrogated to the rights of the bondholder. The city may apply any redemption payments on delinquent assessments to the payment of any coupons or bonds it holds.
History: 1983 a. 236
; 1987 a. 378
Tax delinquent fund.
The city may create a tax delinquent fund to cover delinquent payment of assessments. The common council may authorize payment of deficiencies in the collection of assessments to pay the amount due on bonds issued under s. 32.67
History: 1983 a. 236
Alternative financing by general obligation bonds, taxation or anticipation notes. 32.69(1)(1)
The city may finance any improvement under this subchapter by issuing general obligation bonds, levying a tax or by borrowing on anticipation notes. The city may collect assessments on property that finances bonds under s. 32.67
and apply the assessments to pay the principal and interest of general obligation bonds, or to reduce general taxes if the city levies a tax to finance an improvement. If the city issues no bonds under s. 32.67
, the city shall apply all assessments collected to pay the principal and interest of general obligation bonds or to reduce taxes if the city levies a tax to finance an improvement.
(2) General obligation bonding.
The common council may adopt an initial resolution to issue general obligation bonds to pay the cost of laying out or improving any alley or street, as defined in s. 340.01 (2)
, without submitting the initial resolution to the electors of the city unless a number of electors equal to or greater than 10 percent of the votes cast for governor in the city at the last general election file a petition conforming to the requirements of s. 8.40
with the city clerk requesting submission. The city shall conduct any referendum for approval of the initial resolution as provided in s. 67.05 (5)
(3) Anticipation notes.
The common council may authorize borrowing on notes signed by the mayor and city comptroller in anticipation of the incoming assessments to pay the cost of any improvement authorized under this subchapter. The city shall pay the notes out of the assessments received in the year of issuance. The city shall pay the notes not later than April 1 following the date of issuance. The city may pay any deficit due to delinquencies in the collection of assessments out of the tax delinquent fund under s. 32.68
History: 1983 a. 236
; 1989 a. 192
Statute of limitations.
Unless the action commences within one year after January 1 following the date the assessment of benefits is placed on the tax roll under s. 32.58 (2)
, no person may contest the sale of property or issuance of any tax certificate for nonpayment of an assessment. Commencing an action is subject to s. 32.61
and does not prevent the issuance or payment of any bonds issued under s. 32.67
History: 1983 a. 236
; 1987 a. 378
This subchapter shall be liberally construed to provide the city with the largest possible power and leeway of action.
History: 1983 a. 236
Approval by the electorate.